April 28 – Prof. David L. Dusenbury: “War and the Fate of Europe: Exploring the Underground Writings of Jan Patočka”
On Thursday, April 28, starting at 12 p.m. (CEST), the Institute of European Studies is organizing a lecture:
Prof. David L. Dusenbury
War and the Fate of Europe: Exploring the Underground Writings of Jan Patočka
In the last of his Heretical Essays (Prague, 1975), Czech philosopher Jan Patočka asks, what was “that awesome will which for years drove millions of humans into a fiery furnace”? He is referring to the First World War, a “monumental auto-da-fé” which led, nightmarishly, to a Second World War – and ultimately, to what he calls “the definitive collapse of Europe.” His basic conclusion is that Europe has failed to grasp “the will to war,” because it is not a phenomenon of what he calls the “day.” European philosophy must face the reality of the human “night.” It is rational to honour the limits of the rational in human life, and Patočka is not convinced that postwar Europeans had so honoured them – or could, since they held a progressive philosophy of history that his Heretical Essays seek to correct.
Prof. David Lloyd Dusenbury is a philosopher and historian of ideas, whose books include The Innocence of Pontius Pilate and Platonic Legislations. A visiting fellow at Budapest’s Danube Institute, and visiting professor at Eötvös Loránd University, he writes for The Times Literary Supplement (London), La Lettura (Milan), and others.